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UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

 
PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE
 

   
February-1997 Jurisprudence                 

  • G.R. No. 99039 February 3, 1997 - FORD PHIL., ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 100748 February 3, 1997 - JOSE BARITUA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 108547 February 3, 1997 - FELICIDAD VDA. DE CABRERA, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 112761-65 February 3, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. PORFERIO M. PEPITO

  • G.R. No. 114183 February 3, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. JESUS BORJA

  • G.R. No. 119310 February 3, 1997 - JULIETA V. ESGUERRA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119935 February 3, 1997 - UNITED SOUTH DOCKHANDLERS, INC. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122156 February 3, 1997 - MANILA PRINCE HOTEL v. GSIS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123332 February 3, 1997 - AUGUSTO GATMAYTAN v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118915 February 4, 1997 - CAPITOL MEDICAL CENTER-ACE-UFSW v. BIENVENIDO LAGUESMA, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. P-94-1110 February 6, 1997 - MELENCIO S. SY v. CARMELITA S. MONGCUPA

  • Adm. Matter No. P-96-1203 February 6, 1997 - ERNESTO A. REYES v. NORBERTO R. ANOSA

  • G.R. No. 110668 February 6, 1997 ccc zz

    SMITH, BELL & CO., INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 111682 February 6, 1997 - ZENAIDA REYES v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117982 February 6, 1997 - COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118843 February 6, 1997 - ERIKS PTE. LTD. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 118950-54 February 6, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LUCRECIA GABRES

  • G.R. No. 119322 February 6, 1997 - COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 98252 February 7, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RENE JANUARIO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 110391 February 7, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DOLORES DE LEON

  • G.R. No. 112191 February 7, 1997 - FORTUNE MOTORS (PHILS.) CORP., ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 112714-15 February 7, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ANTONIO SAGARAL

  • G.R. No. 117472 February 7, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. LEO ECHEGARAY

  • G.R. No. 119657 February 7, 1997 - UNIMASTERS CONGLOMERATION, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 119772-73 February 7, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. NIGEL RICHARD GATWARD

  • G.R. No. 125249 February 7, 1997 - JIMMY S. DE CASTRO v. COMELEC, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. P-95-1161 February 10, 1997 - JESUS N. BANDONG v. BELLA R. CHING

  • G.R. No. 108894 February 10, 1997 - TECNOGAS PHIL. MFG. CORP. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 109887 February 10, 1997 - CECILIA CARLOS v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 117702 February 10, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. CRISPIN YPARRAGUIRRE

  • G.R. No. 124553 February 10, 1997 - ROSARIO R. TUASON v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. MTJ-95-1070 February 12, 1997 - MARIA APIAG, ET AL. v. ESMERALDO G. CANTERO

  • Adm. Matter No. P-87-100 February 12, 1997 - FELISA ELIC VDA. DE ABELLERA v. NEMESIO N. DALISAY

  • Adm. Matter No. P-96-1231 February 12, 1997 - ISAIAS P. DICDICAN v. RUSSO FERNAN, JR., ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 68166 February 12, 1997 - HEIRS OF EMILIANO NAVARRO v. INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 104666 February 12, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. BIENVENIDO OMBROG

  • G.R. No. 115129 February 12, 1997 - IGNACIO BARZAGA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116511 February 12, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. COLOMA TABAG, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 118025 February 12, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. REBECCO SATOR

  • G.R. No. 120769 February 12, 1997 - STANLEY J. FORTICH v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 125531 February 12, 1997 - JOVAN LAND v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 126013 February 12, 1997 - HEINZRICH THEIS, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 107554 February 13, 1997 - CEBU INT’L. FINANCE CORP. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 108763 February 13, 1997 - REPUBLIC OF THE PHIL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 112968 February 13, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ARSENIO LETIGIO

  • G.R. No. 114144 February 13, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. FLORENTINO ABAD

  • G.R. Nos. 114711 & 115889 February 13, 1997 - GARMENTS and TEXTILE EXPORT BOARD v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122728 February 13, 1997 - CASIANO A. ANGCHANGCO v. OMBUDSMAN, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-96-217 February 17, 1997 - MANUEL F. CONCEPCION v. JESUS V. AGANA, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ 97-1369 February 17, 1997 - OCTAVIO DEL CALLAR v. IGNACIO L. SALVADOR, ET AL.

  • G.R. Nos. 103501-03 & 103507 February 17, 1997 - LUIS A. TABUENA v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119247 February 17, 1997 - CESAR SULIT v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 119536 February 17, 1997 - GLORIA S. DELA CRUZ v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121017 February 17, 1997 - OLIVIA B. CAMANAG v. JESUS F. GUERRERO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 122165 February 17, 1997 - ALA MODE GARMENTS, INC. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123823 February 17, 1997 - MODESTO G. ESPAÑO v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 96249 February 19, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. ALIPIO QUIAMCO, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 114396 February 19, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. WILLIAM ROBERT BURTON

  • G.R. No. 118140 February 19, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. DANTE PIANDIONG, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 121084 February 19, 1997 - TOYOTA MOTOR PHILS. CORP. v. TOYOTA MOTOR PHILS. CORP. LABOR UNION, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 107916 February 20, 1997 - PERCIVAL MODAY, ET AL. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 112288 February 20, 1997 - DELSAN TRANSPORT LINES, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. P-94-1034 February 21, 1997 - LEWELYN S. ESTRELLER v. SOFRONIO MANATAD, JR.

  • G.R. No. 73399 February 21, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. RAMON ABEDES

  • G.R. No. 117394 February 21, 1997 - HINATUAN MINING CORP. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • A.M. No. SDC-97-2-P February 24, 1997 - SOPHIA ALAWI v. ASHARY M. ALAUYA

  • G.R. No. 110427 February 24, 1997 - CARMEN CAÑIZA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-94-1195 February 26, 1997 - ROMEO NAZARENO, ET AL. v. ENRIQUE M. ALMARIO

  • G.R. No. 94237 February 26, 1997 - BUILDING CARE CORP. v. NLRC, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 105294 February 26, 1997 - PACITA DAVID-CHAN v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 107671 February 26, 1997 - REMMAN ENTERPRISES v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 109849 February 26, 1997 - MAXIMINO FUENTES v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 110098 February 26, 1997 - PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. v. BUENAFE AZUGUE

  • G.R. No. 111538 February 26, 1997 - PARAÑAQUE KINGS ENTERPRISES, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 116033 February 26, 1997 - ALFREDO L. AZARCON v. SANDIGANBAYAN, ET AL.

  • G.R. No. 123404 February 26, 1997 - AURELIO SUMALPONG v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

  • Adm. Matter No. RTJ-97-1368 February 27, 1997 - ERNESTO RIEGO, ET AL. v. EMILIO LEACHON, JR.

  •  





     
     

    G.R. No. 100748  February 3, 1997 - JOSE BARITUA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.

     
    PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

    SECOND DIVISION

    [G.R. No. 100748. February 3, 1997.]

    JOSE BARITUA, Petitioner, v. HON. COURT OF APPEALS (Eleventh Division); HON. MANUEL D. VICTORIO, Judge, RTC, Br. 53, Rosales-Pangasinan; and ROY R. DOMINGO, represented by his Attorney-in-Fact Crispin A. Domingo, Respondents.

    Domingo Lucenario for Petitioner.

    Arsenio Gabanting for Private Respondent.


    SYLLABUS


    1. REMEDIAL LAW; CIVIL PROCEDURE VENUE OF ACTIONS; VENUE OF PERSONAL ACTIONS FILED BEFORE THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT. — A complaint for damages is a personal action. In cases filed before the Regional Trial Court, the venue for personal actions is laid down in Section 2 (b) of Rule 4 of the Revised Rules of Court which reads as follows: "Sec. 2. Venue in Courts of First Instance. — (b) Personal Actions. — All. other actions may be commenced and tried where the defendant or any of the defendants resides or may be found, or where the plaintiff or any of the plaintiffs resides, at the election of the plaintiff . . . ." The complaint in personal actions may be filed in the place where the defendant resides or may be found, or where the plaintiff resides, at the option of the plaintiff. The Rules give the plaintiff the option of choosing where to file his complaint. He can file it in the place (1) where he himself or any of them resides; or (2) where the defendant or any of the defendants resides or may be found. The plaintiff or the defendant must be residents of the place where the action has been instituted at the time the action is commenced.

    2. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; FOR PURPOSES OF THE RULES ON VENUE, ACTUAL RESIDENCE IS THE PLACE OF ABODE NOT NECESSARILY LEGAL RESIDENCE OR DOMICILE. — Section 2 (b) of Rule 4 speaks of the place where the defendant or the plaintiff "resides." We have held that the residence of a person must be his personal, actual or physical habitation or his actual residence or abode. It does not mean fixed permanent residence to which when absent, one has the intention of returning. The word "resides" connotes ex vi termini "actual residence" as distinguished from "legal residence" or "domicile." Actual residence may in some cases be the legal residence or domicile, but for purposes of venue, actual residence is the place of abode and not necessarily legal residence or domicile. Actual residence signifies personal residence, i.e., physical presence and actual stay thereat. This physical presence, nonetheless, must be more than temporary and must be with continuity and consistency.

    3. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; NOT COMPLIED WITH IN CASE AT BAR. — Private respondent was not a mere transient or occasional resident of the United States. He fixed his place of abode in Los Angeles, California and stayed there continuously and consistently for over a year at the time the complaint was filed in Rosales, Pangasinan. Contrary to the lower courts’ finding, the temporary nature of private respondent’s "working non-immigrant" visa did not make him a non-resident of the United States. There is no showing as to the date his temporary employment in the United States ended. There is likewise no showing, much less any allegation, that after the filing of the complaint, private respondent actually returned to the Philippines and resumed residence in Rosales, Pangasinan. In fact, petitioner’s claim that private respondent resided in the United States continuously and consistently since 1988 until the present has not been refuted.

    4. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; VENUE WAS IMPROPERLY LAID IN CASE AT BAR. — It is fundamental that the situs for bringing real and personal civil actions is fixed by the rules to attain the greatest convenience possible to parties litigants and their witnesses by affording them maximum accessibility to the courts of justice. The choice of venue is given to the plaintiff but is not left to his caprice. It cannot unduly deprive a resident defendant of the rights conferred upon him by the Rules of Court. When the complaint was filed in Rosales, Pangasinan, not one of the parties was a resident of the town. Private respondent was a resident of Los Angeles, California while his attorney-in-fact was a resident of Cubao, Quezon City. Petitioners "business address" according to private respondent is in Pasay City, although petitioner claims he resides in Gubat, Sorsogon. The venue in Rosales, Pangasinan was indeed improperly laid.


    D E C I S I O N


    PUNO, J.:


    Petitioner Jose Baritua raises the question of venue in the filing of a complaint for damages arising from a quasi-delict.

    The facts show that on June 26, 1989 private respondent Roy R. Domingo, represented by his attorney-in-fact, Crispin A. Domingo, filed with the Regional Trial Court, Branch 53, Rosales, Pangasinan a complaint against petitioner Jose Baritua as owner and operator of the J.B. Bus Lines. Private respondent sought to recover actual and exemplary damages after a bus owned by petitioner rammed private respondent’s car along the Maharlika Highway, Sto. Tomas, Batangas on January 19, 1988. In his complaint, private respondent alleged that:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "1. He is a Filipino, of legal age, married and a resident of Poblacion Rosales, Pangasinan before he went to the United States where he now lives at 4525 Leata Lane, La Cantada, LA 91011. He is being represented by his attorney-in-fact, Crispin A. Domingo, a Filipino, of legal age, married and a resident of No. 47 Yale St., Cubao, Quezon City. Defendant is also a Filipino, of legal age, married and doing business under the business name "J.B. Bus Lines" with business address at Tramo Street, Pasay City where said defendant could be served summons . . ." 1

    Petitioner moved to dismiss the complaint for improper venue. He alleged that since private respondent was not a resident of the Philippines, the complaint should be filed in the place where petitioner, the defendant, resides which is in Gubat, Sorsogon. The trial court denied the motion to dismiss after finding that private respondent was merely temporarily out of the country and did not lose his legal residence in Rosales, Pangasinan. 2

    The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court. 3 Hence this petition for certiorari and prohibition.

    Petitioner claims that:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "A. RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED GROSS ERROR AND GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION WHEN IT DISMISSED THE PETITION DESPITE PETITIONER’S OVERWHELMING EVIDENCE THAT THE VENUE OF PRIVATE RESPONDENT’S ACTION (CIVIL CASE NO. 915-R) WAS IMPROPERLY LAID;

    B. INSPITE ALSO OF THE ADMITTED FACT THAT PRIVATE RESPONDENT ROY DOMINGO HAS REMAINED AN ACTUAL RESIDENT OF 4525 LEATA LANE, LA CANTADA, LA 91011, U.S.A., AT LEAST SINCE FEBRUARY 18, 1988, UP TO THE PRESENT." 4

    A complaint for damages is a personal action. In cases filed before the Regional Trial Court, the venue for personal actions is laid down in Section 2 (b) of Rule 4 of the Revised Rules of Court which reads as follows :jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "Sec. 2. Venue in Courts of First Instance. —

    x       x       x


    (b) Personal actions. — All other actions may be commenced and tried where the defendant or any of the defendants resides or may be found, or where the plaintiff or any of the plaintiffs resides, at the election of the plaintiff.

    x       x       x" 5

    The complaint in personal actions may be filed in the place where the defendant resides or may be found, or where the plaintiff resides, at the option of the plaintiff. The Rules give the plaintiff the option of choosing where to file his complaint. He can file it in the place (1) where he himself or any of them resides; or (2) where the defendant or any of the defendants resides or may be found. The plaintiff or the defendant must be residents of the place where the action has been instituted at the time the action is commenced. 6

    Section 2 (b) of Rule 4 speaks of the place where the defendant or the plaintiff "resides." We have held that the residence of a person must be his personal, actual or physical habitation or his actual residence or abode. 7 It does not mean fixed permanent residence to which when absent, one has the intention of returning. The word "resides" connotes ex vi termini "actual residence" as distinguished from "legal residence" or "domicile." 8 Actual residence may in some cases be the legal residence or domicile, but for purposes of venue, actual residence is the place of abode and not necessarily legal residence or domicile. 9 Actual residence signifies personal residence, i.e., physical presence and actual stay thereat. 10 This physical presence, nonetheless, must be more than temporary and must be with continuity and consistency. 11

    The question in this case is whether private respondent had his actual residence in Rosales, Pangasinan or in Los Angeles, California at the time the complaint was filed before the Regional Trial Court of Rosales, Pangasinan.

    It is undisputed that private respondent left for the United States on April 25, 1988 before the complaint was filed on June 26, 1989. 12 This fact is expressly admitted in the complaint itself where private respondent states that he "is [sic] . . . a resident of Poblacion Rosales, Pangasinan before he went to the United States where he now lives in 4525 Leata Lane, La Cantada, LA 91011." Furthermore, the special power of attorney in favor of Crispin A. Domingo was drawn and executed by private respondent on February 18, 1988 before the Philippine Consul in Los Angeles, California. 13 In said special power of attorney, private respondent declared that he was a resident of Los Angeles, California. 14

    Private respondent was not a mere transient or occasional resident of the United States. He fixed his place of abode in Los Angeles, California and stayed there continuously and consistently for over a year at the time the complaint was filed in Rosales Pangasinan. 15chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary:red

    Contrary to the lower courts’ finding the temporary nature of private respondent’s "working non-immigrant" visa did not make him a non-resident of the United States. There is no showing as to the date his temporary employment in the United States ended. 16 There is likewise no showing much less any allegation, that after the filing of the complaint, private respondent actually returned to the Philippines and resumed residence in Rosales Pangasinan. In fact petitioner’s claim that private respondent resided in the United States continuously and consistently since 1988 until the present has not been refuted. 17

    We previously held that:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

    "We are fully convinced that private respondent Coloma’s protestations of domicile in San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte, based on his manifested intention to return there after the retirement of his wife from government service to justify his bringing of an action for damages against petitioner in the C.F.I. of Ilocos Norte, is entirely of no moment since what is of paramount importance is where he actually resided or where he may be found at the time he brought the action, to comply substantially with the requirements of Sec. 2(b) of Rule 4, Rules of Court, on venue of personal actions . . ." 18

    It is fundamental that the situs for bringing real and personal civil actions is fixed by the rules to attain the greatest convenience possible to parties litigants and their witnesses by affording them maximum accessibility to the courts of justice. 19 The choice of venue is given to the plaintiff but is not left to his caprice. 20 It cannot unduly deprive a resident defendant of the rights conferred upon him by the Rules of Court. 21

    When the complaint was filed in Rosales, Pangasinan, not one of the parties was a resident of the town. Private respondent was a resident of Los Angeles, California while his attorney-in-fact was a resident of Cubao, Quezon City. Petitioner’s "business address" according to private respondent is in Pasay City, 22 although petitioner claims he resides in Gubat, Sorsogon. 23 The venue in Rosales, Pangasinan was indeed improperly laid.

    IN VIEW WHEREOF, the petition is granted and the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 20737 is reversed and set aside. The complaint in Civil Case No. 915-R is dismissed for improper venue. No costs.

    SO ORDERED.

    Regalado, Romero and Torres, Jr., JJ., concur.

    Mendoza, J., took no part; having taken part in decision of the Court of Appeals.

    Endnotes:



    1. Annex "I" to the Petition, Rollo, p. 36.

    2. Order dated April 23, 1990, Civil Case No. 915-R, Annex "L" to the Petition, Rollo, pp. 44-45.

    3. Decision dated November 29, 1990, CA-G.R. SP No. 20737; Annex "A" to the Petition, Rollo, pp. 18-21.

    4. Petition, p. 2, Rollo, p. 4.

    5. Emphasis supplied.

    6. De la Rosa v. De Borja, 53 Phil. 990, 998 [1929]; see Hernandez v. Rural Bank of Lucena, 81 SCRA 75, 85 [1978]; Koh v. Court of Appeals, 70 SCRA 298, 305 [1976]; see also Regalado, Remedial Law Compendium, vol. I, p. 71 [1988].

    7. Bejer v. Court of Appeals, 169 SCRA 566, 571 [1989]; Garcia Fule v. Court of Appeals, 74 SCRA 189, 199 [1976].

    8. Bejer v. Court of Appeals, supra; Dangwa Transportation Co., Inc. v. Sarmiento, 75 SCRA 124, 129 [1977].

    9. Hernandez v. Rural Bank of Lucena, supra, at 85.

    10. Raymond v. Court of Appeals, 166 SCRA 50, 54 [1988]; Garcia Fule v. Court of Appeals, supra.

    11. Bejer v. Court of Appeals, supra; Dangwa Trans. Co., Inc. v. Sarmiento, supra.

    12. Petition, pp. 10-11, Rollo, pp. 12-13; Memorandum of Petitioner, pp. 8-9, Rollo, pp. 106-107.

    13. Annexes "D" and "E" to the Petition, Rollo, pp. 26-27.

    14. Annex "D," supra.

    15. Compare with Bejer v. Court of Appeals, supra, at 569, 571, where petitioners, residents of Bauan, Batangas, were declared mere occasional visitors of their children who lived in Pandacan while schooling in Manila.

    16. Esuerte v. Court of Appeals, 193 SCRA 541, 545 [1991].

    17. Petition, pp. 10-11, Rollo, pp. 12-13; Memorandum of Petitioner, pp. 8-9, Rollo, pp. 106-107.

    18. Koh v. Court of Appeals, 70 SCRA 298, 305 [1976].

    19. Koh v. Court of Appeals, supra, at 304-305; Nicolas v. Reparations Commission, 64 SCRA 110, 116 [1975].

    20. Esuerte v. Court of Appeals, supra, at 544; Clavecilla Radio System v. Antillon, 19 SCRA 379, 382 [1967].

    21. Portillo v. Reyes, 3 SCRA 311, 312-313 [1961].

    22. Complaint, Annex "I" to the Petition, p. 1, Rollo, p. 36.

    23. Motion to Dismiss, Annex "J" to the Petition, Rollo, p. 39.

    G.R. No. 100748  February 3, 1997 - JOSE BARITUA v. COURT OF APPEALS, ET AL.


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